Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



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The Other Boleyn Girl

Film #248


Two sisters contend for the affection of King Henry VIII.

Year 1, Day 248

BEFORE: And batting second today is the historical romance film The Other Boleyn Girl. Like Moulin Rouge! this was also scheduled for early February but was postponed. Unlike today’s first film, I’m much more optimistic going into The Other Boleyn Girl mainly because I know surprisingly little about King Henry VIII and can always add to my knowledge of British royalty.

AFTER: “When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” Oh wait, this wasn’t Game of Throne? Sorry, my bad. It would have been much better if this film was Game of Thrones. But alas, The Other Boleyn Girl, while striking many similarities with conniving characters out for their own interests to try and take the throne, fails to deliver on almost any form of gripping story that would have you want to watch the film.

The Other Boleyn Girl wasn’t really a bad film and really had only one standout problem, but it also wasn’t a good film either. Now that’s a vague and broad statement if I ever saw one, so before force myself into writing another addendum, let me try and fully explain it. Typically a film can be classified as “good” or “bad” depending on the positives or negatives, specific likes or dislikes about the film. Acting, writing, and style are among the categories usually looked at to help organize your thoughts. But what happens when nothing really sticks out as positive or negative; it just is. Well if you can imagine that, you can imagine The Other Boleyn Girl. While watching it there was nothing that wanted me to gouge my eyes out and find something else to do, nor was there anything that particularly drew me in and forced me to keep watching. It’s just as important to have attention-grabbing and intriguing moments as it is to have no glaring mistakes or faults in the film. For if after the film has ended and nothing sticks with you, what’s the point of watching the film in the first place?

The one specific complaint I do have is with regards to set design. A great majority, I’d say 90% or more, of the film takes place indoors - inside the Boleyn household and the Tower of London - and everything looks the same. Not only could I not tell the difference between the two residencies and took a while to realized they switched locations partway through, but even the rooms were almost indistinguishable. Going from scene to scene it’s apparent that the characters are in a different room but after a while I found myself questioning whether or not the place was really changing. Every room had the same dull, drab, gray look and when trying to think of ways to identify the differences, it’s extremely difficult.

Despite having some big talent like Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson (last seen in The Prestige), Eric Bana, and Jim Sturgess (last seen in Cloud Atlas), The Other Boleyn Girl is not memorable and is very lackluster. In addition to a critical problem with set design the film just doesn’t offer anything to attract and excite the audience. Sure, there’s that thing but nothing of import that you’ll remember a few months down the road. Go ahead and watch the film, but don’t be expecting high quality entertainment.

RATING: 3 out of 5